Hundreds of people send birthday cards to boy, 9, diagnosed with life-limiting disease
Oscar Jealous was diagnosed with life-limiting Batten disease in February (Image: bemoreOscar/Facebook)
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Hundreds of people have sent birthday cards to a nine-year-old boy who was diagnosed with a life-limiting disease.
Oscar Jealous, from Great Barr, Birmingham, is turning nine today and his parents hoped to organise a big birthday party for him, but unfortunately they cannot because of lockdown restrictions.
His family instead launched an appeal to get as many people as possible to send him a birthday card to make Oscar enjoy his special day.
On Tuesday, Birmingham Live reported that the family had already received more than 300 cards and 20 presents – which kept arriving as the week went on.
Oscar was diagnosed just before lockdown with Batten Disease, a neuro-degenerative illness that affects only a handful of children every year.
Oscar is turning nine today
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Boy, 12, with 'childhood dementia' desperate for 'one chance to change his fate'
His condition means he is losing his sight, will gradually lose speech and mobility and is developing dementia.
Parents, Alex and Dani Jealous, who also have another son Charlie, aged five, say they are heartbroken but determined to fill every moment of Oscar's life with joy – with a little help from their family and friends.
Alex said he wanted to do something to "make Oscar feel special" and for this reason they launched an appeal for people to send over birthday cards, BBC News reports.
He said: "The intention when he was diagnosed was to have a big family party in the garden.
"The simple fact is, it is more likely that next year will be very different, this is probably going to be the last birthday where he understands what is going on."
The 36-year-old dad also told Birmingham Live: "Every birthday is going to be different from now on and the reality is we have to make them as special as possible because we don’t know where we will be this time next year.
"We don't have loads of time with Oscar, but the time we do have, it has to be positive and fun and make memories.
Hundreds of people sent birthday cards for Oscar
"So this year we wanted to go the extra mile and are asking as many people as possible to send him a birthday card.
"We originally wanted to throw the biggest birthday party ever, but can’t for obvious reasons so instead decided to make it a birthday to remember with lots of cards and smiles."
The family's house is currently a building site while work to convert it to meet Oscar's needs is being carried out and the family are having to live upstairs.
They received a small Government grant to help with the building work, but are also having to use up every penny of their savings.
Although he is still attending Priestley Smith School in Perry Bar, Oscar's health is deteriorating and he's gradually losing his sight, is having frequent seizures and has also lost the ability to swallow and has had to have a feeding tube fitted.
Oscar was diagnosed with Batten Disease in late February after a series of tests at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
His mum, Dani, aged 33, a shipping clerk, explained shortly after the devastating diagnosis how it was a neurological disorder that affected the brain.
"Childhood dementia is what they said to us that day and knowing those things were going to happen, our world ended. Or it felt like our world ended. It was crushing," she said.
"At the end of it I asked the doctors the question: 'Will he die from this?' They answered me 'yes'.
"I wasn't expecting them to say yes, I thought they would say no, we will just deal with it, his life will be different…but they said yes."
She said they asked doctors how long Oscar had left and were given the heartbreaking prediction that he "may make it to his early teens".
The family said Oscar was "their little superstar" who lit up a room when he walked into it.
Their campaign had been given the name " Be More Oscar " because one of his cousins once used that expression when describing how everyone should look at life in the same upbeat and positive way Oscar does.
A Gofundme page has been launched by the family to help cover the costs of adventures, alongside the bucket list of moments that money can't buy.